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Is there hardcore in Sea Dogs: To Each His Own? Opinion of BlackMark Studio developers

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Is there hardcore in Sea Dogs: To Each His Own? Opinion of BlackMark Studio developers

You are reading an article prepared during the development of the pirate life simulation game Corsairs Legacy by Ukrainian Mauris studio with the aim of popularizing the marine theme in general and pirate games in particular. You can follow the project news on our website, YouTube channel, and Telegram.

Overcomplexity is one of the first descriptions that come to mind for people who have played Sea Dogs: To Each His Own. And it's not even about the multipliers of incoming and outgoing damage, without which, by the way, it also didn’t work either. Game design in this case more often disturbs the player than helps.

However, a fairly large part of the Sea Dogs audience describes the situation with the complexity of the game as hardcore — a concept that is generally viewed positively in the gaming community. Another part argues with them, arguing that game design is full of errors.

Is there hardcore in the game?

Unfortunately, at the moment there is no clear definition of this word in the context of games, so it is impossible to give an objective assessment. Everyone has their own understanding of hardcore games in their heads, so, for lack of more, everyone will be right in their own way.

But you should very carefully form your personal definition: if you call hardcore any project that is difficult to pass, then any buggy and the barely playable thing falls under the definition.

From this position, one can argue for quite a long time - the wider and more complex we build the definition, the fewer “extra” games will fall under it. All “folk terms” suffer from this without exception, which makes any analysis on this topic simply meaningless.

We can go back to the origin of the term, as well as situations outside the gaming industry where the word is used, and argue that to be hardcore, a game must be tough, unforgiving, and adrenaline-inducing. Yes, our case really does not spare the player.

But here is another example. RPG games. It would seem that the name speaks for itself. Games where you play a role - what could be clearer? But in fact, the connection here is minimal.

Many other genres, like immersive sims, have come much closer to playing one specific role (or a small set of roles), and various sandbox games like the Mount & Blade or Crusader Kings series have come much closer to the number of possible roles, sacrificing the quality of each individual role being worked out.

To put it bluntly, RPG elements in games are mechanics that, in one way or another, are inherited from D&D. Actually, this is how the genre appeared. An RPG game is considered to be a project with a sufficiently large number of these elements.

Of course, there are things like role-playing and variation in RPGs, but on a limited scale. We wouldn't call any game with this mechanic a driving simulator, would we?

And role-playing in this case is just a nice name for increasing replay value by artificially limiting the available mechanics and introducing one or two additional paths in certain locations. There are RPGs where this is not the case, but there are very few of them.

I hope the ambiguity of the situation has become clearer for you. Even within the framework of game design, one word often means completely different things.

Let's get back to hardcore.

Regarding Sea Dogs: To Each His Own there are many opinions, but it is more interesting to understand the motives. How do BlackMark Studio themselves evaluate their project in terms of complexity? Do they consider it hardcore? The game Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships, which became for many the first in the series, after all, is also not an easy one.

Let's see what they had to say about this in an interview dated March 18, 2021, which full and short versions you can read on the site.

“Yes, the game is hardcore, of course. It is heavier than the City of Abandoned Ships. It is based on our own patch 1.3.2 and the game hasn't gone further from the complexity that was in this patch. That is, we didn’t wind it up anymore and even “loosened the nuts” in some places.

After we released it on Steam, we got feedback from the youth that everything is complicated and incomprehensible, and the barrier to entry is high. From the start, we had a default third level (there were 5 of them all). We cut it down to the second, and the second and first levels dropped quite a lot. We did not touch the upper three levels, but the lower 2 were made much easier.

A little later, a feasible tutorial was added on the island of Martinique. We have added a character who leads you by the hand, shows you where the port is, where the tavern is, and so on. “

Separately, we asked about the time limits that quests abound in the game.

Most of these rigid time frames came from the City of Abandoned Ships, where about 70% of the generators were time-bound. As far as I know, people are more outraged by the time frame in the Regatta quest, the speed quest.

Many people want to do it at the beginning with a low level, and of course, they often fail, but at the highest level, it is easy to do. This is a side quest, it is not woven into the main plot, and you can skip it if you can’t or don’t want to.

There were many more questions about the time for our plot: to go through the saga, you need a year (game time), and for many, it is a very long time, although there is nothing complicated about it. Many people miss freeplay. But, again, we will collect feedback and maybe come up with something else to make it more convenient for the guys to play.”

Whether this point of view corresponds to the vision of the project of the audience and whether it argues the attitude of the game towards the players is up to you.

If you fundamentally disagree with BlackMark Studio and consider their game difficult solely from the point of view of bad game design, we recommend that you check on guides and cheats, which will help you enjoy only the story and save time. Of course, if desired.

We hope you found this article useful!

Learn more about the Corsairs Legacy - Historical Pirate RPG Simulator project and add it to your wishlist on the game's Steam page.

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